SkillsUSA Flash

SkillsUSA Michigan

October 21, 2016

Your Students’ Voices Can Be Heard in the National Election

The National Student Mock Election gives those under 18 the opportunity to cast votes for candidates in both the federal and state elections. SkillsUSA instructors can use free materials and curriculum to create thoughtful lessons on democracy and the economy, with a special emphasis on civil discourse.

A total of 60 national civic, educational and business organizations serve as cooperating organizations to the Mock Election, including SkillsUSA. The program builds on the 36-year history of the National Student/Parent Mock Election (NSPME), the leading program in student voting. More than 50 million young voters have participated while learning about the importance of using their own voice to share perspectives on important issues. This year, national student voting culminates on Nov. 3, five days before the nation’s election on Tuesday, Nov. 8.

The Mock Election will feature an online ballot option that’s easily accessible from any internet-enabled device: computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones. NSPME will tally the votes in real-time. Online ballots feature multimedia candidate and issue profiles. Students, parents and teachers will be able to hear directly from each candidate (video) as well as the leading arguments "for" and "against" the ballot issues before casting their votes.

For more information and to register to vote, go to: Students shouldn’t miss this opportunity to let their voice be heard! Voting opens on Oct. 25 and closes Nov. 3 at 9 p.m. (Pacific time).

Got a Great Story Involving Lowe’s? Get Noticed by Posting Online

SkillsUSA chapters are invited to visit Lowe’s online news hub, Open House. This new, dynamic platform can enhance how they share news and human-interest stories about Lowe’s and SkillsUSA. It also provides an opportunity to highlight more stories about the positive impact Lowe’s and SkillsUSA are making in communities. This news hub will highlight how our organizations partner to revitalize communities.

You’ll find a landing page for SkillsUSA at:

You can also use social media channels to support this news portal and to publicize current and future events. Most importantly, sharing stories about SkillsUSA’s long-running partnership with Lowe’s helps at the local-store level as well as at the state and national level.

SkillsUSA executive director Tim Lawrence helped launch the online news hub by writing a guest blog for Lowe’s Open House about how we’re filling the workforce gap. You can read it and respond here:

Video Contest Encourages Financial Responsibility

The American Bankers Association Foundation wants to encourage financial responsibility among your students. Its “Lights, Camera, Save!” video contest calls on students to educate themselves and their peers about saving and using money wisely. This is the perfect outlet for creative, innovative concepts —your students’ imaginations are the only limit to coming up with unique savings scenarios.

Winning videos will be posted on YouTube. The contest is free and open to all students age 13-18, with the videos of local winners moving on to the national competition. The entry period is Oct. 1-Dec. 1. The top three national winners will receive awards of $1,000, $2,500 or $5,000 to fund their saving goals. Equally rewarding, if one of your students is a top-three national winner, your school will win a scholarship to attend the 2017 Jump$tart National Educator Conference. Winners will be announced in March.

To learn more, visit: Lights, Camera, Save!

Teacher Guide Helps Students ‘Dream It, Do It.’

Over the next decade, 2 million manufacturing jobs will go unfilled due to the skills gap. With the help of teachers, we can mitigate this gap and show students the reality of modern manufacturing. The Manufacturing Institute’s “Dream It, Do It” toolkit provides teachers with activities to expand students’ knowledge and awareness of the manufacturing industry.

Many people of all ages are amazed to learn how much is manufactured in the United States and how diverse the careers are in this industry. Today’s manufacturing is about new innovation, making an impact and a chance to design and build the future. Whether students are interested in design, engineering or even the business side of the industry, there is a place for everyone in manufacturing. Not only does the industry offer a wide variety of demanding and fulfilling roles, it also offers high pay and opportunity for career advancement.

Woodwork Career Alliance Updates Skill Standards, Credentials

The Woodwork Career Alliance of North America (WCA) has released the 2016 Woodwork Manufacturing Skill Standards, the most significant update since 2011. The WCA has also redesigned its Passport, the personal record of a woodworker’s achievements in skill standard credentials.

WCA developed the industry-accepted skill standards to support the industry’s ability to train productive woodworkers. The standards include a voluntary assessment program that allows woodworkers to demonstrate their competency and earn credentials recognized throughout the United States and Canada.

The new standards have also been streamlined and enhanced based on improvements suggested by accredited skill evaluators and credential Passport holders. Each performance standard includes a pre-operation checklist, an operation checklist and considerations for evaluating an operator’s competency of the task at hand. Most skill standards have two levels, basic and advanced.

For more information about the WCA Woodwork Manufacturing Skill Standards, Passport and Accredited Skill Evaluator programs, visit:

SkillsUSA Members Can Doodle for Google

Students in grades K-12 are invited to take part in the “Doodle 4 Google” contest and create a doodle that tells the world “what I see for the future.” From graphic design to crayons or clay, artists can use any material to bring a creation to life. This could be a fun chapter or classroom activity — or an assignment if you teach graphic design, drafting or the arts. The contest runs through Dec. 2. One winning student will receive:

  • Placement of his or her doodle artwork on the Google homepage
  • A $30,000 college scholarship
  • A $50,000 Google for Education technology award for his or her nonprofit
  • A trip to Google headquarters, a Chromebook, Android tablet and more

For details or to submit completed doodles online, go to:

It’s Membership Time! Need Help Registering Your Members?

Everyone needs a little help now and then. Let the SkillsUSA Membership Hotline operators help you solve your problems. Hotline operators are ready to answer your questions on how to start a new chapter, engage chapter members and strengthen an existing chapter. Operators are on call from 8 a.m.–5 p.m. (Eastern time) Monday, Wednesday and Friday and from 11 a.m.–7 p.m. (Eastern) Tuesday and Thursday. Don’t have time to call? Send the operators an email at or chat with them online at the membership registration site! Call the SkillsUSA Membership Hotline Toll Free: 844-875-4557.